Shortstop has been one of the most steady positions the Mets have had in the past 15 years. Reyes had been the starting shortstop since mid-2003 and before that, Rey Ordonez had started at the position from 1996-2002. The Mets though will have to at least find a stopgap at the position until some younger prospect are ready for the major leagues.
Here are the top 10 options the Mets have to replace Reyes at shortstop.
The veteran shortstop has played with many teams in the past and is currently a free agent. However, he is now 37 years old and more likely suited for a backup role at this point in his career.
The Mets could bring Cabrera in as a stopgap for a year or so and potentially trade him to a contender should such a situation ever arise, but there are better options out there than Cabrera. Thus, if the Mets can avoid taking a chance on an aging shortstop like Cabrera, they should.
Another veteran shortstop that could be a stopgap for the Mets is Miguel Tejada.
A former MVP, Tejada last played for the Giants, who released him in early September. Offensively, Tejada is not the same kind of hitter he was, compared to the early 2000s. Like Cabrera, Tejada is also 37 now and his range defensively is not as strong as it once was.
Tejada will likely sign a one-year contract with incentives, so if the Mets are desperate to find a new shortstop, Tejada would not be a bad option. He would also be a good veteran presence for a relatively young Mets team.
One player in the Mets' farm system that could see some major league time at shortstop in the near future is Reese Havens, who was the Mets' first round draft pick in 2008. Havens was originally a shortstop, but started playing second base due to the presence of Jose Reyes. Now that Reyes is no longer on the Mets, this could potentially open up a spot for Havens in the near future.
Havens is a very good all around player with a good bat, decent power and solid defense overall. However, he has a bit of a history with injuries, so it's possible that the Mets' front office could be weary of his health and whether they could get a full season out of Havens.
Despite the Mets' immediate need for a shortstop that can hit, Havens will most likely play in Triple A Buffalo for the majority of the 2012 season. A September or emergency call-up could always happen, but don't expect to see a lot Havens for the next year or two.
A younger free agent option for the Mets could be Ronny Cedeno, who has played for the Pirates since 2009.
Cedeno would likely not demand a high salary or long contract. On the other hand, he does not present any extraordinary strengths to his game. He has yet to hit above .269 over a full season, does not possess much power or speed and is average defensively. However, he could also be a good choice as a backup middle infielder if the Mets opt to go with someone like Ruben Tejada for the full season.
Yet another veteran shortstop out there is the two-time World Series MVP, Edgar Renteria.
The 35-year-old Renteria spent the past season with the Reds and has not been hitting as well as he used to during his years on the Cardinals. During his prime, he consistently hit around 10-15 home runs and drove in 70-80 RBI. However, his home run totals have not reached double digits since 2008 and his RBI totals have decreased significantly as well.
Renteria could be a good veteran presence for the Mets as he could guide Ruben Tejada and other potential young shortstops for the Mets over the span of one or two years, but that would be all that Renteria would be good for in a Mets uniform. Then again, being the recipient of two World Series MVP Awards, it's always possible that Renteria could somehow come through in clutch moments for the Mets and one can only hope for the Mets to have any clutch moments in 2012.
Wilmer Flores is the long-term plan at shortstop for the Mets and eventually will be the Mets' shortstop for many years to come.
Flores spent the 2011 season in Single A St. Lucie and is likely to get promoted to Double A Binghamton in 2012. Flores has always been projected to be a good hitter, both for contact and power. He is only 20 years old and has a very bright future ahead of him. However, it's way too early to put him in the Major Leagues, even though he would probably be more qualified to become the Mets' shortstop than most others.
Like many other shortstops on the open market, Wilson is not a particularly good hitter, but has good defense and decent speed on the bases. He could be a good veteran mentor for Ruben Tejada, but if that were to be the case, Wilson could also be a candidate for the Mets' backup middle infielder.
Being that Wilson is a similar player compared to Tejada, it's less likely that the Mets would try to target a similar shortstop. Nonetheless, Wilson is the best available shortstop on the open market right now and he should definitely be taken into consideration for the job.
The best offensive candidate to become the Mets' new shortstop would be Daniel Murphy. Murphy surprised many fans and finished the 2011 season batting .320, before a leg injury ended his season in August.
However, Murphy is not the best defensive infielder and seeing that he is still learning how to play second base (which is a challenge for him in itself), him learning shortstop would be even more of a challenge. Thus, he is likely to remain at second base for the Mets in 2012, unless he gets traded.
If Murphy becomes the Mets' everyday second baseman in 2012, this could leave Justin Turner without a position to play every day.
Turner split time at second base and third base during the 2011 season. He played third base while David Wright was injured and then moved back to second, as Murphy by then was playing first base due to Ike Davis' season-ending ankle injury.
Turner is definitely more capable of playing shortstop than Murphy, so if Terry Collins is looking for more offense from the shortstop position he could definitely put Turner there. If it doesn't work then that's that, but this would certainly be worth a try.
Midway through the 2011 season, when Jose Reyes' name was on the trading block, many people within the Mets organization—as well as many Mets fans—predicted that Ruben Tejada would become Reyes' eventual successor at shortstop and unless the Mets sign someone significant, which is getting less likely by the day, Tejada will be the Opening Day shortstop for the Mets in 2012.
Tejada lacks significant power, but he can put the ball in play, has good speed on the bases and has tremendous defensive skills, plus a great throwing arm. If he gains some muscle in the offseason and improves his average he could be a great shortstop for the Mets, at least until Wilmer Flores is ready for a Major League promotion.
Ruben Tejada will not produce Jose Reyes-like results right away, but he should remain a great defensive presence in the field and, with time, he will hopefully improve his hitting as well.